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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 April 2019

One of Russia’s richest women, airline mogul Natalia Fileva, dies in plane crash

German officials are working with Russian authorities to determine the cause of the incident

The crash site of an airplane near Darmstadt, Germany, where Russian airline co-owner Natalia Fileva died on 31 March 2019. EPA
The crash site of an airplane near Darmstadt, Germany, where Russian airline co-owner Natalia Fileva died on 31 March 2019. EPA

One of Russia’s richest women and the co-owner of the country’s flagship budget airliner has died in a plane crash in Germany.

Natalia Fileva, who was the chairwoman and majority shareholder in S7 Airlines, was estimated to be worth $600 million (Dh2.2 billion) by the Russian edition of Forbes magazine. The single-engine jet she was travelling in crashed as it approached Egelsbach airport near Frankfurt on Sunday evening, S7, also known as Siberian 7, said in a statement.

All three people on board the private S7 flight from Cannes in France, including Fileva’s father, were confirmed to have died in the crash. The airline and local authorities have said the cause of the crash has yet to be determined.

Reuters cited a police spokesman in the central German state of Hesse saying that the six-seater aircraft with two passengers and a pilot on board caught fire when it crashed.

The German Federal Bureau of Aircraft Accident Investigation told Russian media on Monday that it will work with Moscow to investigate the crash.

S7, which Fileva ran with her husband, was part of an airline group in Russia which carried around 16 million passengers in 2018. According to Bloomberg, Fileva planned to expand the company with a deal last year to acquire the Sea Launch platform, an ocean-based spacecraft launching pad, to compete with Elon Musk’s SpaceX in launching satellites.

Russia’s aviation industry has been rocked by several high profile accidents in recent years. In February last year, 71 people died when Saratov Airlines flight 703 crashed shortly after taking off from Moscow. In 2016, FlyDubai 737 crashed in poor weather near southern Russia, killing all 62 passengers.

Updated: April 1, 2019 07:24 PM

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